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02 Dec 2020
Georgina Kent Georgina Kent

Landlord responsibilities

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A close up of house keys with a brass house keyring
As you tentatively take your first steps towards renting out a property, you need to know what your landlord responsibilities are. 

So before your tenants move into their new home, there’s a few things you should know. 

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Responsibilities of private landlords 

When you’re starting out as a landlord, you’ll need to make sure you’ve done the groundwork. 

First off, you’ll need to give your new tenant a copy of the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide. This applies for any new tenant renting after 2015. 

The day they move in, you’ll also need to give them a copy of the Gas Safe certificate. From then on you’ll need to ensure checks are carried out every 12 months by a registered Gas Safe engineer. 

When your tenant pays their deposit, you’ll need to place it in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. This ensures their deposit is kept safe and sound. 

Those are the official things you need to do straight away. You’re also responsible for making sure the property is safe for your tenant.

If they contact you with any issues, you need to respond as soon as you reasonably can.

You’ll have to give them 24 hours’ notice of coming to the property, and it’ll need to be at a reasonable time of day for the tenant. 

You’ll also need to expect a reasonable level of wear and tear on the property when people are living there.

The longer they’re there, the greater the wear and tear, and that’s not something that should affect their deposit. 


Landlord responsibilities to commercial tenants 

Being a commercial landlord is a whole other kettle of fish compared to being a private landlord.

There tends to be quite a bit of overlap on what you and your tenant are responsible for.

With that in mind you’ll need to appoint a specialist solicitor to handle the contracts and give you both the lay of the land when it comes to responsibilities. 

Having clear and defined contracts will be essential for both you and your tenant. 


Landlord responsibilities to the property 

Your tenant is responsible for keeping the property in a reasonable condition.

But, whether you’re renting out private or commercial property, you’re still responsible for maintaining the building.

Should an issue with the building crop up like loose tiles or a bust boiler, you need to resolve it as soon as you can.

If it’s anything like dealing with electrics or plumbing, it’s best to leave it to the professionals to fix. Ultimately you have a responsibility to ensure your tenants are living in a safe home. 

You’ll also need to check the boiler once a year, along with any other items that need regular servicing.

You just need to organise it for a time that works for you and the tenant, giving them at least 24 hours’ written notice. 

When your tenant moves in, you’ll also need to test all the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

You are responsible for the batteries in these, but it’s your tenant’s responsibility to test them. They'll need to do this regularly once they’re in and let you know if they stop working. 

Also, when your tenant moves in, you’ll need to supply them with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property. 

READ MORE: Safety regulations for landlords 


What are your responsibilities for the garden as a landlord? 

Your responsibilities when it comes to the garden are fairly simple. 

Your tenant is responsible for keeping it maintained so it’s not overgrown.

As a landlord, you’re responsible for the maintenance of the bigger things like fences, sheds and trees. If a tree poses a risk, you’ll need to appoint a professional like a tree surgeon to fix it. 

Despite this being pretty clear, there’s often lots of confusion between over who looks after the different parts of the garden.

You can include a garden clause in your contract with your tenant to cover garden maintenance.

We’d certainly recommend doing that to keep things clear. In the garden clause you could ask your tenant to mow the lawn every 2 weeks during the growing months, for example, or weed in the spring and autumn.

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